Zareen Khan is Bollywood’s first tour guide with 'Jeep Bollywood Trails'

The actor's new show revisits iconic film locations across India, as the directors of the movies talk about their experiences shooting there

In San Francisco, one can sign up for tours that revisit locations where iconic films like Mrs Doubtfire and Dirty Harry were shot. A museum in Tokyo has recreated the magical worlds from Studio Ghibli’s films, with forest creatures, sprites and even a giant stuffed version of the Cat Bus. In London, fans can walk through the famous Portobello Road market full of buskers, cafés and spice shops, much like Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant did in Notting Hill.

World over, it is possible for cinema buffs to live their movie dreams on guided tours and behind-the-scene visits at some of the most iconic film locations. In India, though, this trend in tourism is yet to catch on. Apart from the stray excursions to Mumbai’s Dharavi (thanks to Slumdog Millionaire), most film tours are limited to studio visits in Mumbai (Film City) and Hyderabad (Ramoji Film City). A step in the right direction towards changing this is Jeep Bollywood Trails. The show, hosted by actor Zareen Khan, revisits the beautiful locations where films like Bang Bang, Jab We Met, Raanjhanaa and Dhadak were shot. In every episode, as Khan explores the locations, there is also a section where the directors of these films talk about their experiences shooting there. Premièring today, the show’s first episode will take audiences to Chail Palace, Druk School and Pangong Lake in Ladakh, which formed the backdrop for director Rajkumar Hirani’s 3 Idiots.

As for the actor, she describes herself as a ‘hippie traveller’. Give her a backpack with the bare essentials and a one-way ticket out of Mumbai and she wouldn’t ask for anything more. “I like to go into the interiors, meet people and taste different cuisines, even if it is from the streets. I want to know and experience the region’s culture, its history, food and the people,” says Khan, who was thrilled when she got the opportunity to host the travel show.

On the work front

For the 32-year-old actor who made her Hindi film début opposite Salman Khan in Veer exactly a decade ago, hosting Jeep Bollywood Trails for the small screen has meant there is no character for her to hide behind. While most would see this as a huge challenge, Khan insists it was one of her reasons for wanting to do the show.

In the last decade, the actor has been a part of films like Housefull 2, Hate Story 3 and 1921. In recent years, she’s also acted in films in Punjabi (Daaka, Jatt James Bond) and Telugu (Chankaya). “These 10 years have been a roller coaster ride. If it wasn’t for Salman, I don’t think I would have been here because becoming an actor was never my dream. In the beginning, I was like a lost child who had no idea how to go about things and I didn’t have anyone to guide me. There have been lots of ups and downs, lots of learning experiences and struggles.”

When she doesn’t have movies on her mind, Khan dreams of travelling through Northeast India, the Scottish Highlands, Egypt and Italy. “Australia is another country on my wishlist. Over the years, I have planned many work and personal trips, but they have never panned out.”

Jeep Bollywood Trails premières on January 25 and will air every Saturday at 8 pm on AXN.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 4:22:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/zareen-khan-is-bollywoods-first-tour-guide-with-jeep-bollywood-trails/article30642328.ece

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